Recent Artist's Statements


Notes on Vertical Motifs
Mobile Museum, 2005

The Mobile Museum of Art exhibition represents a selection of my Vertical Motif series, begun in 1976 and continued today. Each Vertical Motif is made from one half inch steel plate, cut with an acetylene torch, then arc welded together. Edges of the Þnished elements are ground down, then all the pieces are sandblasted and coated with primer paint. Several coats of weather-resistant þat black paint complete the process.

All my sculptures are preceded by ink and gouache drawings on Arches paper. I consider this an integral part of the working process and the drawings themselves are valid works. You will see such drawings in the exhibition.

Macquettes ­ smaller metal models for sculpture but, again, works in their own right ­ are here as well, lending yet a different scale to the series.

Primary sources of my imagery come from what I see every day which evoke response and quick pencil sketches of shapes and forms. It is these sketches which translate into colored working drawings, varied colors on the two-dimensional paper representing planes in the eventual three-dimensional piece. I tack these drawings up in my studio and begin making the sculptures.

Interpretations of the sculptures are left to the viewer, subject to their own unlimited fantasies.

David Hayes

Exhibit Without Walls - 40 sculptures in and around downtown Fort Pierce and Tradition, Florida; 2005

This Fort Pierce­Tradition exhibition is unusual in that it is in two parts, black Screen sculpture in the City of Fort Pierce and polychrome sculpture in the town of Tradition. What is not unique but still highly signiÞcant is that this, in common with all large-scale exhibitions, enables the artist to step back and look at his work anew, both the works' development and how different pieces work together in this new environment. With each exhibition an opportunity rises to strike a sense of unity and interaction between the pieces, which is the evident case here.

There is an almost lyrical harmony to the arrangement of the Screen sculptures, with each piece begetting its relationship to another-both in the pieces surrounding City Hall and those on the oceanfront plaza. The polychrome sculptures at Tradition have a more subtle interplay, with the varied brilliant colors catching the eye as it ranges from sculpture to sculpture in a kaleidoscope of color.

Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County ofÞcials, in particular Jon Ward and Ramon Trias, worked with John Hayes to plan the exhibition, and subsequently Tradition ofÞcials welcomed the colored pieces. Installation was by John and a Fort Pierce work crew there and John, his brother David and me at Tradition. In Fort Pierce we were joined in touch-up painting by Frank Murphy Lynch.

All the sculptures at Tradition are made from mild steel, cut out with an acetylene torch, then welded and bolted together. They are then sandblasted, ground down, painted with primer and Þnished with their Þnal color or colors.

Iconography of the pieces derives from sketchbook studies which I do daily. These in turn develop into working drawings in ink and gouache. Color is used in the drawings to mark the different forms and shapes, and also for its own sake in creating its inherent harmony on the page. I use these drawings, tacked on the wall, to create the actual sculpture in my studio.

My intention in making sculpture is to portray a reaction to the shapes and forms I see daily, and create a harmony of these forms within a given piece-sometimes coordinated, sometimes disparate, but subservient to the overall image of the sculpture. In my series pieces such as Screen sculptures, the works play upon a given theme with variations, much as one would Þnd in a musical fugue.

Interpretation of the individual pieces is left to the discretion of the viewer and is open to as varied interpretations as the variety of viewers themselves.

David Hayes
David Hayes: Sculptures on Oyaron Hill, 2005

The analogy of a pebble thrown into a pond which creates expanding circles applies to contemporary sculpture placed in unfamiliar surroundings.

Such is the case with the Hartwick College exhibition where the works are placed near often-used campus pathways, creating responses among viewers that range from startled or puzzled to then familiarity and acceptance.

Sculptures seen in all kinds of light and in a natural environment are quite different from pieces shown in art galleries. In time perhaps they incite some expansion of the viewer's response to art works, with an awakening of curiosity and interest in this realm of expression.

David Hayes

Michener Museum, 2004

My sources of imagery are in nature, that which I see and am attracted to. Forms and shapes then combine into sculpture with an imagery of its own.

Exhibitions challenge the artist to create a configuration of objects that give a new identity to the space while forming an underlying unity of pieces complementing one another.

Open air exhibitions afford viewers a more approachable venue in that sculptures are not confined within a museum but seen against the sky and in a natural setting. Viewers can confront the pieces uninhibitedly, view them from all angles, and make their own comparisons.

This exhibition covers a range of work, both in monochromatic black and in multicolored pieces. The similar colors and shapes of the polychromed sculptures create an overall harmony of its own, while the black pieces stand out more as silhouettes or grilles against the surrounding background.

The interpretation of the pieces I leave to the viewer's own imagination, while the titles of each piece may be helpful, they are not limiting.

David Hayes

David Hayes at Florida International University, 2004

The sculptures in this exhibition cover a range of my work and encompass most of my series of pieces. Each sculpture begins with the ink and gouache drawings that I do each day. The forms and shapes, and their interaction, are delineated on paper, with the color showing each different form. The drawing with the arrangement of shapes that I Þnd most engaging is then tacked up on my studio wall and used as the working drawing from which I make the sculpture.

The drawings themselves are derived from copious notebooks of sketches that I make to depict objects and shapes that I respond to in nature and the environment around me.

All the sculptures in this exhibition are made from mild steel, cut with an acetylene torch, then arc welded, ground with a grinder, and sandblasted. Later they are painted with several coats of primer and weather resistant colors. The coloration of the pieces is determined by what I see in the shapes themselves.

And through the pieces have individual titles I leave the interpretation of each to the realm of the viewer's imagination.

The sculptures are out in the open and can be viewed under different weather and light conditions as they are all made for out of door exposure. I have a strong conviction about art in public areas where it can be seen and enjoyed in uninhibiting surroundings.

The concept and installation of this exhibition are my son David's doing, aided by my other son, John Marc and coordinated with the efforts of Dahlia Morgan and Duane Brant. I am most grateful to them all.

David Hayes

5 Screens at the University of Central Florida, 2003

The exhibition at the University of Central Florida encompasses a selection of my current sculpture as chosen by my son David and arranged by Ke Francis.

I Þnd it rewarding to exhibit my work on college and university campuses as the audience there is in the process of opening up and exploring new horizons in experiences and knowledge. The fact that the sculptures present new and different forms of expression plays to this process, and the reaction to these exhibits has been most positive with people bringing their own interpretations to the works of art.
All the sculptures are developed from drawings which I do daily. These are studies from nature and the world I observe around me. The forms and shapes of the pieces develop from these drawings and ultimately into sculptures based on the afÞnity of the forms for one another. The solid pieces of the sculptures play off against the intervening voids so that a certain equilibrium is established.

All the sculptures are made from mild steel, cut with an acetylene torch and welded with an arc welder. Later they are sandblasted and given several coats of weather resistant paint. They are exhibited out of doors year round.

The pieces all have titles but the interpretation of them is left entirely to the viewers who bring their own varied frames of reference and emotions to them and derive many interesting and varied reactions.

David Hayes

Small Sculptures
Bradley Airport Terminal A, 2002

The sculptures are a selection from my current work; developed from drawings that I make daily, the forms based on those I see in nature. A combination of these individual forms makes the completed sculptures.

The sculpture begins with drawings of chosen forms on sheets of mild steel, then cutting out of the drawn forms with an acetylene torch. I then grind the cut pieces, smoothing them somewhat, but not so much that they no longer resemble natural forms. Prepared pieces go together with an arc welder, assembled into the sculpture's ultimate form. There may be a bit more grinding and smoothing. The piece is then ready for several coats of primer paint, and then its final color(s).

These small pieces are sculptures in their own right, each with a presence of its own, a three-dimensional realization of the concept I had when making the original drawings. But certain of them, in addition, will serve as models, enlarged to scale for larger works, up to a scale of one inch to one foot. My sculpture in front of the Hartford Public Library, for example, at seventeen and a half feet and six tons, was enlarged from a piece such as those you see here.

David Hayes

From the 2000 Sasaki Exhibition:

The challenge, as I encounter a new space, is to "see" the sculpture that complements a given site. The Sasaki exhibition has provided a variety of spaces, of differing sizes and configurations - the best of challenges, and one I have taken happily. Fifteen sculptures in fifteen places, each a unique siteing.

True, fifteen is not a number for its own sake, not is twenty - the number of working years that the exhibition spans. But the welcome availability of fifteen good places has made possible this overview of my last two decades as a sculptor. Not least, it gives me the opportunity to reflect on those two decades in hospitable surroundings, away from the necessary chaos of my working studio. I am better able to see how the pieces activate the spaces, and create a viable component of what is, in its own right, a working environment.

Works of art must be available to people, a principle behind most of the exhibitions I have done. I have placed sculptures in locations as diverse as a public park in Fitchburg and along a walking path at Dartmouth College, all with the same goal - let people see and interact with the work on their own terms, and not because it is good for them. It may or may not be good for them - that is, make their day more rewarding. I don't know, but I do know that art by the pathways or in the workplace is accessible art, and most feedback tells me that this is positive.

The current Sasaki exhibition serves as an example of my sense of art and people. Try it yourself, letting simple reactions tell you a bit. I hope that you, too, will find the experience positive.

David Hayes

Stamford Sculpture Walk 1998
David Hayes Steel Sculptures

When Sculpture is placed on sidewalks and open spaces of a city it creates a confrontation between object and viewer; the viewer is forced to make a judgement about the piece in their path - it is there, right there, and can't be entirely ignored. One hopes, at best, that this experience brings an expansion of the viewer's horizons and perhaps even an aesthetic reaction.

The Stamford sculptures were selected to occupy specific locations, to encounter people at a point which invites interaction, in the cityscape and, too, within Stamford Town Center, A reciprocity between the object and its setting is intended overall, an effect of visual orientation of the sculptures creating continuity and visual Harmony.

David Hayes

From the 1996, 1997, 1998 Florida travelling show:

The pieces in this exhibition are from my Screen Sculpture series, begun in 1976 and continuing. They were selected not only for their relationship to the site but for their compatibility with one another. Several of my most recent works are represented, with earlier pieces establishing a continuity.

The interplay between solid and void attracts me, and the vocabulary of forms that comprise the sculptures is enriched daily by discoveries that I find in nature. The selection of natural forms, the positioning of those forms in relation to each other and to their voids are what make the Screen Sculpture series an ongoing challenge for me.

David Hayes

Sculptures at the Pingry School, 1996

The pieces in this exhibition are from my Screen Sculpture series begun in 1976 and continuing. They were selected not only for their relationship to the site but for their compatibility with one another. Several of my most recent works are represented with earlier pieces, establishing a continuity.

The interplay between solid and void attracts me, and the vocabulary of forms that comprise the sculptures is enriched by discoveries that I find in nature. The selection of natural forms, the positiing of those forms in relationship to each other and to their voids are what makes the Screen Sculpture series an ongoing challenge for me.

David Hayes

David Hayes - Screen Sculptures
Anderson Gallery, Martha Jackson Place, Buffalo, New York 14214 - January 8 - February 19, 1993

This selection of screen sculpture represents a cross section of the series which I began in 1975, a series particularly reþecting my interest in nature's ever-changing interplay of forms. The attempt is to give the pieces a sense of articulation and vitality that stems from interactions of the original shapes as I Þnd them in nature.

The play of solid against void, one as important as the other, and the changing effect of shadows, reinforced by repeat shadows cast upon the ground, are concomitant with those interactions in the original forms.

David Hayes

Sculpture in the Library, 1979
University of Connecticut

Essentially the intention of this exhibition has been to activate a variety of library spaces with sculpture. Although the combination of books and sculpture seems unlikely, the example of some of David Smith's work aside, the stacks of volumes are monoliths in their own right and relate to the spaces around them as much as do certain forms of contemporary sculpture.

There is an almost surreal quality to sculpture placed in formerly vacant places and a sense of familiarity with the objects comes only with time and daily viewing. For much as sculpture changes the space and atmosphere within it so that a reciprocal relationship develops between the space and the object, so also does a similar relationship arise between the viewer and the object. The placing of objects in everyday settings allows this relationship between the viewer and the work of art to develop.

Over a period of time a familiarity with the object ensues and it is this familiarity that tempers the awareness of the viewer after initial reactions have subsided. Carried a step futher it is this familiarity with works of art in the everyday context and flux of life that allows the viewer to react more openly to other works be they in familiar or unfamiliar settings.

David Hayes